In the medical field, the term heart disease chronicles a number of heart-related conditions. Basically, conditions under the heart diseases and conditions umbrella constitute blood vessel diseases like coronary artery disease; congenital heart defects (heart defects one is born with); arrhythmias (heart rhythm relate problems). Typically, “heart disease” is normally utilized interchangeably with cardiovascular disease. From medical perspective, cardiovascular diseases generally describe conditions originating from blocked or narrow blood vessels that consequentially lead to angina (chest pain) or stroke (DeSilva, 2013). Moreover, other heart-related conditions like those that attack someone’s valves, rhythm or muscles, are also considered types of cardiovascular diseases.
Principally, cardiovascular diseases can be classified into two types’ cardiac diseases (heart-related) and vascular diseases. Cardiac diseases and conditions include arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat), coronary artery diseases (CDA), heart attack, angina (cardiac disease), hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, dilated cardiomyopathy, mitral regurgitation, and valve prolapse, rheumatic heart disease, pulmonary stenosis, and heart failure. Generally, vascular diseases affect blood vessels: the veins, arteries or capillaries. Vascular diseases include Peripheral arterial disease, atherosclerosis, Raynaud’s disease, aneurysm, renal artery disease, Buerger’s disease, stroke, blood clotting disorder, peripheral venous disease, and venous blood clots (DeSilva, 2013).
From a statistical study conducted by the World Health Organization, heart disease is a major global concern. This is true since more people die of cardiovascular diseases than from other diseases. A report in 2015 suggested that approximately 17.7 million people died from heart diseases. Even more worrying 31% of these deaths were premature deaths. Of these deaths: 7.4 million were caused by coronary heart disease while 6.7 were caused by stroke. Cardiovascular diseases mainly affected low and middle income nations than developed nations. Worryingly, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of women deaths in the United States of America.
Causes of Cardiovascular diseases
While the term cardiovascular disease may define various blood vessel and heart conditions, the term is normally utilized to describe the damage in blood vessels or heart resulting from atherosclerosis. Predominately, atherosclerosis is caused by a pile-up of fatty plaques in someone’s arteries. Plaque pileup stiffens and thickens artery walls, which sequentially inhibits blood flow via arteries to tissues and organs. Indeed, cardiovascular diseases are primarily caused by atherosclerosis. Some of the common causes of atherosclerosis include unhealthy diets, being overweight and smoking. Causes of heart diseases related to heart rhythms include heart defects, diabetes, smoking, drug abuse, and stress. Heart defects normally develop one month after conception. However, heart defects may develop on adults because of dilated cardiomyopathy, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, and restrictive cardiomyopathy. Causes of heart infections like endocarditis include bacteria, parasites, and viruses. Valvular heart conditions are primarily caused by connective tissue disorders, rheumatic fever, and infectious endocarditis.
The type of cure will depend on the type of condition one is infected with. Options include medications like pills aimed at reducing LDL cholesterol, lifestyle adaptations like exercise, dietary changes, weight control, and avoiding smoking. Cardiac rehabilitation like counseling and exercise, surgery for example Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG). Cardiovascular treatments seek to reduce the risks of the disease worsening or recurring, relieve symptoms or prevent other complications. Also important, treatments may seek to reduce or increase artery sizes depending on the condition or stabilize heart rhythms.
Treatment and prevention through fitness
Basically, like any other muscle in your body, the heart needs exercise to remain healthy. Indeed, muscles need regular exercise to become healthier and stronger. Contrastingly, if muscles are not exercised regularly, they weaken. If regularly exercised, the heart works efficiently and with less strain. Sequentially, this will result in a healthy life. According to studies, exercise also promotes blood vessels and arteries flexibility (Kokkinos, 2010). Also, constantly engaging in physical activities reduces the risk of heart diseases. According to a report by Elijah Saunders, M.D., who is the head of hypertension department in University of Maryland, School of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, physical exercise facilitates blood pressure control as it actively invigorates “nitric oxide.” Nitric oxide helps to maintain blood vessels open. Furthermore, research by the British Medical Journal reported that women who engaged in constant physical activities increased their levels of “good” cholesterol (HDL).
Additionally, evidence from research suggests heart attack patients who actively participated in physical activities like running, going to the gym or simply walking, reduced their death chances to approximately 20-25%. Not surprisingly, studies from the last century have also shown physical exercise highly reduces coronary artery disease risk (Kokkinos, 2010). Likewise, a meta-analysis on several training exercises showed that exercises reduce the levels of LDL (bad cholesterol) and triglyceride. Furthermore, physical exercise has been found to be beneficial to heart attack patients as it increases hearts capacity to pump blood hence improving the quality of life. Contrastingly, not actively exercising increases the risk of developing heart conditions (Kokkinos, 2010). Evidence from a study conducted by the American Heart Association journal Circulation, 250,000 Americans died yearly because of inactivity. Also, according to a report by the University of Maryland Medical Center, inactivity increases high blood pressure risk. High blood pressure is the leading cause of cardiovascular diseases.
DeSilva, R. (2013). Heart disease. Santa Barbara, Calif: Greenwood.
Kokkinos, P. (2010). Physical activity and cardiovascular disease prevention. Sudbury, Mass: Jones and Bartlett.